Beckham & Co. part of history

Los Angeles Galaxy's David Beckham hoists the championship trophy as the team celebrates its...

Los Angeles Galaxy's David Beckham hoists the championship trophy as the team celebrates its victory over the Houston Dynamo during the MLS Cup soccer final in Carson, Calif., on Sunday. (REUTERS)

KURTIS LARSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:11 PM ET

In an MLS Cup that stayed true to the major talking points leading up to the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 championship win over the Houston Dynamo, LA became just the second franchise in league history to hoist MLS silverware in front of home fans.

“I think there were a few more goals out there for us,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “But give Houston credit ... they were tough to score on.”

Until LA’s big names stepped up to break the deadlock late in the second half — a play that involved each of the Galaxy’s designated players (Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and David Beckham) combining to clinch it late on in California.

According to Arena, it was a goal that was always coming. The Galaxy asserted itself early on with a number of half-chances against a Houston side that stayed true its brand.

“We were playing deep at times,” said Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear. “Even on the set pieces we had, we were off.”

He was eluding to the absence of the team’s offensive engine Brad Davis, who missed the match due to an injury sustained in the league semifinals.

The Dynamo failed to test LA’s Josh Saunders throughout the 90 minutes and unmistakably suffered without Davis’ league-leading 16 assists.

“When we got into those good areas, our delivery was off,” Kinnear said.

In what was supposed to be a chess match between a pair of the league’s most decorated managers, the stinginess of both sides wasn’t surprising. For once, it was an MLS final that stuck to the script.

“Nothing was given to us,” Arena said. “We got it done and it was unbelievably rewarding.”

ON THE CLOCK

And with that, the Montreal Impact is set to select as many as 10 players from a list of unprotected names MLS clubs released following MLS Cup.

For the second consecutive expansion draft, Toronto left Julian de Guzman exposed should the Impact choose to select him as a designated player.

In what would be a shock selection. As Vancouver did a year ago, Montreal will likely avoid the Canadian international’s $2 million contract.

Adrian Cann was left unprotected while central defenders Andy Iro and Ty Harden landed on Toronto’s exemption list — a controversial decision that will undoubtedly come under fire should Jesse Marsch and his staff make a move for Cann.

Combined with a solid 2010 campaign, Cann’s manageable salary makes him vulnerable if the Impact look beyond a knee injury the Canadian suffered earlier this year.

Nick Soolsma, Nathan Sturgis, Dicoy Williams, Mikael Yourassowsky, Gianluca Zavarise, Peri Marosevic and Javier Martina round out a list of 2011 TFC contributors that Montreal can select from Toronto.

The rules and regulations remain the same from past years tomorrow at 2 p.m. Montreal can grab no more than one player from a given club.

CH-CH-CHANGES

Love it or hate it, next year’s MLS campaign will not feature a balanced schedule with clubs meeting twice.

“(Next) season will include more games between regional rivals and less total travel than we have seen in recent years,” MLS executive vice- president Nelson Rodriguez said.

For example, TFC will face conference opponents as many as three times while only facing West opposition once — something MLS supporters should welcome.

While Euro-snobs will claim the league is becoming too Americanized, thetravel demands placed on North American players exceeds any league in the world.

Looking at TFC’s 2011 travel, on top of the many regional trips the club took, the Reds flew to Panama, Mexico City, Nicaragua, Edmonton, the Pacific coast nine times, and Texas twice, all on separate occasions.

Toronto fans can relate to the number of injury problems and fatigue issues MLS clubs face. An unbalanced schedule will keep players fresh to better compete in international tournaments and within MLS.

Additionally, next year’s MLS Cup will be hosted by the remaining playoff club that finished with the most regular season points, rewarding a team’s regular season performance while ensuring a boisterous championship crowd.

‘DONE IT ALL’

Hours after Beckham and the Galaxy lifted Monday night’s MLS Cup, comparisons between the Englishman and the Great One flooded social media.

Discussions surrounding which athlete had a bigger impact on their sport in the Angel City came back to the fact Wayne Gretzky never won a championship with the L.A. Kings.

“I’ve been around great athletes and competitors in my life and this guy’s as good as it comes,” Arena said. “He’s a great teammate and great person. He has done it all now in every country he has been in.”

In terms of growing his sport in Southern California, Gretzky accomplished far more — soccer was huge in L.A. before Beckham arrived.

Globally, however, Beckham put Los Angeles and the Home Depot Centre on the map — something the Great One couldn’t do.

His sport isn’t, and never will be, the world’s game.

 


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